CBD (cannabidiol), is used by many people to help relieve anxiety. In fact, surveys show the most popular use of CBD products in 2018 was anxiety. CBD is easy to use and has the potential to greatly improve your quality of life and mental health. Research¹ shows CBD is a promising solution to reduce stress and to calm your body in times of nervousness.
This article will help you understand the effects of CBD on anxiety. It is worth considering CBD if you are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, or just experiencing minor stress and worries! Below, we’ll review the science and data supporting the use of CBD for anxiety. Read on to see how CBD oils and other products may help relieve some of your symptoms.
Understanding Anxiety and CBD
Anxiety disorders affect over 18% of people living in the United States. These disorders can range in symptoms and presentation. But, most anxiety conditions are characterized by overwhelming fear or stress.
CBD has been shown to have a great deal of promise for people suffering from anxiety disorders. According to published medical research¹, it shows the potential to improve:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Panic Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Every day worry, or situational stress
The (Simplified) Science Of CBD For Anxiety
How does CBD help reduce anxiety?
There are many ways scientists believe CBD products provide anxiety and stress relief. Below is a summary of three ways that show the most promise for CBD to help the human body reduce anxiety:
Your body has a natural endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system is made of chemical receptors that help control brain function, mood, sleep, stress, and pain. CBD activates these receptors and helps reduce the body’s responses to events associated with anxiety (feelings of stress, fear, and uncertainty). Data² shows CBD also reduces anxiety by stabilizing heart rate and blood pressure.
Serotonin is a chemical in our brain that helps keep us happy. When the brain is lacking serotonin, it can result in feelings of anxiety. CBD acts on the serotonin pathways in the brain¹. This process may improve your mood and reduce anxiety!
The hippocampus is the region of your brain that regulates emotions and forms memories. Stress impairs signaling in the hippocampus, leading to anxiety. Brain scans have shown that people with chronic stress often have noticeable differences in hippocampus functioning.
In a research study², CBD reduced anxiety as a result of increased chronic stress. Additionally, studies have shown that CBD helps on the stress response of memories by increasing the ability to change patterned fear responses. This reduces the previous fear responses and aids in the formation of a new replacement memory.
These examples show how the body uses CBD to help manage anxiety. In addition, scientists and doctors continue to explore more ways that CBD helps the body.
Evidence That CBD Helps
More than 50 clinical studies have been conducted on the anxiety-reducing properties of CBD. As a result, the growing body of evidence leads many to believe that CBD has a positive effect on reducing anxiety. Below are quotes from two of these studies.
- A study conducted by Brazilian researchers³ on generalized social anxiety showed participants who consumed CBD oil reported a significant decrease in anxiety. This was further validated by brain scans. The researchers of this study concluded, “Pretreatment of social anxiety disorder (SAD) patients with CBD significantly reduced anxiety, cognitive impairment, and discomfort in their speech performance and significantly decreased alert in their anticipatory speech”.
- In a popular study², researchers had healthy participants try a public speaking test. Participants who used CBD during this test reported significantly less anxiety than those given the placebo. Results were also supported by objective tests, such as heart rate and blood pressure. The researchers concluded, “Confirming several preclinical and clinical studies, our results indicate that CBD can decrease anxiety. This effect has also been previously demonstrated in studies using healthy subjects and patients with social anxiety”.
CBD vs. Prescription Anxiety Medications
Anxiety medications, including benzodiazepines (such as Xanax), are the most common prescriptions for anxiety disorders. While these pharmaceutical medications have benefits, they may produce significant side effects and dependence. However, studies show that CBD may have fewer side effects than its prescription counterparts and is not addictive.
How Do I Use CBD Oil?
As we can see, the scientific evidence suggests that CBD products have a positive effect on reducing anxiety! The amount of evidence for CBD’s anti-anxiety properties continues to grow as it becomes more popular.
One of the many benefits of CBD is simple usage. For example, you can just add CBD oil drops under the tongue, or to food, you are already eating. Either of these methods can lead to quick relief of anxiety related symptoms.